GIVE GOV­ER­NORS THEIR SPACE

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices -

Last Thurs­day, Kenyans were treated to an ugly scene from City Hall as Nairobi MCAs en­gaged in a phys­i­cal brawl. They at­tacked one of their own who had spon­sored an im­peach­ment mo­tion against Gover­nor Evans Kidero. This was clearly a bad show from the ward rep­re­sen­ta­tives, de­spite how strongly they were against the mo­tion. Im­peach­ment mo­tions are to be set­tled through de­bate and vot­ing, not through heck­ling, pour­ing water on each other or fight­ing.

The res­i­dents of Nairobi never even got the chance to know why Gover­nor Kidero was be­ing im­peached, be­cause of the chaos.

This fight aside, over the last three years, we have wit­nessed what seems to be a de­lib­er­ate at­tack on the gov­er­nors. We have had six im­peach­ment at­tempts in Keri­cho, Ny­eri, Embu (twice), Makueni and Murang’a gov­er­nors.We have also wit­nessed nu­mer­ous threats of im­peach­ment against other gov­er­nors across the coun­try which have failed to ma­te­ri­alise. Other than this, we have seen dis­rup­tion of county ac­tiv­i­ties by other elected lead­ers such as se­na­tors and MPs.

While some im­peach­ment mo­tions have gone through, none of the gov­er­nors has left of­fice be­cause the Se­nate or the courts have dis­missed them. While this has been go­ing on, it is res­i­dents from the re­spec­tive coun­ties who have suf­fered as the gov­er­nors spend their time fight­ing the im­peach­ments in­stead of work­ing on ser­vice de­liv­ery.

We have wit­nessed a sit­u­a­tion where county bosses con­tinue to be threat­ened and in­tim­i­dated by MCAs and se­na­tors. Some have spent most of their time in Nairobi meet­ing se­na­tors in the name of over­sight.

Gov­er­nors have been fight­ing at­tempts by se­na­tors to have them vet­ted ev­ery now and then. The law has proven to be dis­crim­i­na­tory and the se­na­tors are us­ing it to set­tle po­lit­i­cal scores. Some se­na­tors have been ac­cused of us­ing this so-called vet­ting to black­mail gov­er­nors.

Some se­na­tors have al­ready de­clared that they will stand for gover­nor in 2017. How then can they be ob­jec­tive and fair to the cur­rent hold­ers of the of­fices they have an in­ter­est in?

We all agree the­county chiefs must be held ac­count­able for the work they do, but must be also al­lowed to serve the elec­torate with­out threats, in­tim­i­da­tion or un­due pro­cesses. This kills the spirit of de­vo­lu­tion which was en­vis­aged to en­sure devel­op­ment at the very low­est level.

There seems to be un­end­ing turf wars be­tween gov­er­nors and other key play­ers in de­vo­lu­tion, at times in­clud­ing the na­tional gov­ern­ment. We seem to have for­got­ten why we put de­vo­lu­tion in place and why Kenyans are ea­ger to see it work.

When Kenyans voted for the 2010 Con­sti­tu­tion, one of the ma­jor mo­ti­va­tions was the prom­ise of eq­ui­table dis­tri­bu­tion of re­sources. This was why Kenyans were ea­ger to see the suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of the de­volved sys­tem af­ter the 2013 gen­eral elec­tion.

Af­ter see­ing how the Con­stituency Devel­op­ment Fund had trans­formed lo­cal devel­op­ment, Kenyans were more than ea­ger to see more money sent to the grass­roots. This is be­cause all that Kenyans have as­pired for over the years is to see more re­sources at the lo­cal level and get­ting to con­trol these re­sources.

But we have seen se­na­tors and MCAs at times work­ing hard to deny gov­er­nors these re­sources. This is mostly be­cause some se­na­tors are in po­lit­i­cal com­pe­ti­tion with gov­er­nors and just want them to fail, for­get­ting, it is the com­mon mwananchi who will suf­fer.

It is, there­fore, un­for­tu­nate that turf wars be­tween those who should im­ple­ment de­vo­lu­tion con­tinue to be a threat to this noble cause. We have come too far to al­low these, some times petty turf wars to de­rail the ben­e­fits of de­vo­lu­tion to the mwananchi.

KERI­CHO, NY­ERI, EMBU (TWICE), MAKUENI AND MURANG’A GOV­ER­NORS HAVE ALL SUR­VIVED IM­PEACH­MENT

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